Education News: Charter School Parents on the March

SOURCE: ICEF Public Schools

Jun 05, 2008 12:00 ET

Thousands of Charter School Parents March to Demand Equal Education

Rally Launches Families That Can, the First Statewide Advocacy Group of Charter School Parents, Grandparents and Family Members

LOS ANGELES, CA–(Marketwire – June 5, 2008) – Thousands of parents will join forces today to march in Downtown Los Angeles to demand that charter school students no longer be treated as second-class citizens by school districts such as Los Angeles Unified, and to launch the first-ever statewide advocacy organization on behalf of charter school families.

This new parent organization, “Families That Can,” will advocate for choice, equity and accountability in California’s public school system.

More than 100 charter schools, representing tens of thousands of students throughout the state, have already committed to the vision of Families That Can. With 240,000 charter students throughout the state, the movement is geared to organize hundreds of thousands of parents to demand that school districts and the state treat charter school students fairly.

As public education in the state faces severe budget cuts this year, charter families are coming together to ensure that school districts don’t balance their budgets on the backs of charter schools, while standing up to defend their public school choice.

“School districts throughout California are mistreating our children, suffocating the growth of charter schools, and offering inadequate facilities and disproportionate funding,” said founding parent Corri Tate Ravare, whose son attends ICEF Public Schools’ successful View Park Prep High School and whose daughter attends View Park Prep Elementary School. “Through Families That Can, our families will fight unfair moves by school districts such as Los Angeles Unified and will demand equal education, equal treatment and equal resources for our kids.”

“Charter school students are public school students, yet they don’t have the same access to resources, funding and facilities that traditional public schools do,” said founding parent Jackie Duvivier Castillo, whose twin daughters attend PUC Schools’ CALS Early College Charter High School. “Los Angeles Unified continues to create obstacles for charter schools by withholding $80 million in construction bonds and leaving dozens of schools operating out of inadequate facilities.”

Estimates have pegged the lack of funding that each charter school student receives to be as much as $3,000 less per year than a traditional public school student. Meanwhile, school districts like Los Angeles Unified are denying charter students the basic facilities and services to which all public school students are entitled, like school police, transportation, gymnasiums, auditoriums and adequate classroom space.

The catalyst for the creation of Families That Can came last August, when a group of 700 Los Angeles-based charter school parents successfully fought and prevented state policymakers from taking away a vital $18 million charter school facilities program that has proven to be a lifeblood resource for charter schools serving under-served students.

Partnering with this new parent organization is the California Charter Schools Association, the statewide membership and advocacy organization for charter schools, as well as Sacramento-based EdVoice, an education advocacy organization. For more information, visit www.familiesthatcan.org.

About Families That Can

Families That Can is the first statewide advocacy organization consisting of charter school parents, grandparents and family members. More than 100 charter schools representing tens of thousands of students in the state have committed to the mission of the organization. Families That Can will advocate for families with children in the public school system with the goal of organizing more than 20,000 charter family members to catalyze change in public education throughout California. www.familiesthatcan.org.

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